Merchant Hydro seeks permit on 230 MW pumped storage project in Pennsylvania

Bath County Pumped Storage Station

Merchant Hydro Developers applied to FERC for a preliminary permit, good for three years, for the 230 MW Richmondale Pumped Storage Hydro Project in Lackawanna and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania.

This application was made so the company may secure and maintain priority of application for a license for the project while obtaining the data and performing the acts required to determine the feasibility of the project and to support an application for a license.

Based on current conceptual design, the Richmondale project involves the construction of a closed loop pumped-storage hydroelectric facility capable of producing about 230 MW. The basic configuration would include:

·      As many as two pumping/generating units contained in a powerhouse

·      A newly-constructed lower reservoir of about 75 acres

·      An about 260-acre upper reservoir created through construction of a semi-circular dam containing 1,270,733,100 gallons of water

Merchant Hydro anticipates that the lower reservoir will be filled from local inflow including groundwater inputs and operated at a surface elevation of 1,375 and 1,450 feet above sea level (ASL). The upper reservoir would potentially be constructed using dam roller compacted concrete or earth and rock excavated from mine site reclamation. Preliminary designs estimate the upper reservoir to have a total surface area of about 260 acres and hold about 1,270,733,100 gallons of water at a pool discharge elevation of 2,000 feet ASL.

Merchant Hydro said that PPL Corp. owns two transmission lines and two substations near the project boundary. The average annual generation from this project would be about 676,873 MWh.

The project timeline at the moment is:

·      Preliminary permit Issued - Feb 2017

·      Perform Studies - Feb 2017-Nov 2017

·      Complete Initial Environmental Analysis - April 2017

·      Initiate License Process - December 2017

·      File License Application at FERC - January 2018

Said the application: "Through the development of the proposed Richmondale Pumped Storage Hydro Project, the applicant will provide an additional source of clean, renewable energy that will provide added stability and capacity to the PJM and or State of Pennsylvania’s energy markets. It is proposed that the electricity generated at the Richmondale Pumped Storage Hydro Project will be offered to the State or sold at market rates to either an electric utility marketer or through the PJM Independent System Operator for transmission to the electric grid. Based upon available feasibility and marketing studies conducted for the electric power market in the vicinity of the proposed project, project revenues are expected to be adequate to construct and operate the Richmondale Pumped Storage Hydro Project and to yield a reasonable rate of return on investment."

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